Monday, November 18, 2013

Studieskolen - HERE COMES THE PD3

What a terrible blogger I've been!

With the looming PD3 exam, I've been utterly distracted.  So distracted, in fact, that the damn thing snuck right up on me.

In fact, it's tomorrow.  Or rather, the first part of it is tomorrow.

Since we've spent the last month or so doing practice exams with actual previous PD3s, I am able to give a pretty good breakdown of how the thing works.  So, here goes:

The first day of the exam lasts about 5 hours.  It starts with the "reading and understanding" portion, which is broken up into 2 sections.  First, we're given some kind of information booklet (so far we've seen booklets about Danish taxes, university programs, nature hikes and short trips within Denmark, among others), from which we answer maybe a dozen questions.  We're given 25 minutes for this bit, so it's all about reading the Table of Contents and scanning through information.  Next, we're given a packet with 2-3 articles and we're given 65 minutes to read them and answer questions.  The tricky bit here is that they're looking for very specific answers, so if you haven't fully understood the text, you're likely to give either too much or too little information for your response, leading to them counting your answer wrong, even if it's mostly right.  An important thing to note for this part of the exam is that, despite being allowed to use dictionaries for this part during all of the previous module exams, dictionaries of any kind are not allowed during this part of the PD3.

We'll then be given a 30 minute break, followed by the writing portion.  Good news, folks - dictionaries of all kinds are allowed for this part!  Here, we're expected to write two essays.  One is a response to a letter or email, in which they're looking for more casual language.  And for the second, we have a choice between two topics:  One is based on statistics about Danes or Denmark in which we're supposed to show that we know how to analyze and discuss said statistics, and the second gives a topic for which there are several points of view and asks that we discuss the merits of some of them.

As I mentioned, we've been doing practice exams for the last month or so, and our teacher has been grading them as though they were real PD3 exams.  Being used to an American grading system in which we're either graded from A to F, or we're graded on a percentage scale up to 100%, the Danish grading system is baffling to me.  The possible grades are as follows: -3 and 00 are the grades below the failure line, a 2 is a passing grade, next is a 4 (which is the score needed to attain citizenship), followed by 7 (the American equivalent to getting a B), and finally 10 and 12.  You need a 10 on all sections of the PD3 in order to proceed directly on the module 6.

How have I been doing to far?  In the beginning, I was getting 7's on absolutely everything.  Even the ones that I thought I'd done really well on, always a 7.  Lately, though, I've been doing better.  Mostly 10s, and even a 12 last week on a "reading and understanding" portion.

Here's hoping tomorrow's exam goes as well.  A lot is riding on it.

No pressure or anything...